BusinessWeek Chooses 50 Most Generous
27 November 2006 at 1:59 pm
BusinessWeek Magazine has produced a list of what is arguably the worlds 50 most generous philanthropists citing the technology industry as heading up its list.
BusinessWeek says the past year was one of superlatives in the giving world, capped by the announcement of a planned $31 billion transfer of wealth from the world’s second-richest man, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, to the foundation of the world’s richest man, Buffett friend and Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates.
The magazine says the buzz continued at the year’s most-talked-about philanthropic event, the Clinton Global Initiative. In three days, the organization raised 215 commitments, valued at $7.3 billion, to tackle issues such as poverty and global warming. ( All these dollar figures are in US currency)
The magazine reports that the big names and even bigger money are accompanied by suitably ambitious goals. To list just a few: finding vaccines for malaria and HIV/AIDs, breaking the cycle of poverty, and stopping nuclear proliferation. Tech luminaries such as Gates, eBay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar, Dell Inc. Chairman Michael Dell, and former eBay President Jeff Skoll, among other high-profile givers, are intent on bringing about massive social change within their lifetimes.
Joining Gates and Buffett at the top of BusinessWeek’s annual list of 50 Most Generous Philanthropists are two new names, former Golden West Financial Corp. co-CEOs Herbert and Marion Sandler, and businessman Bernard Osher, Marion’s brother and an early backer of Golden West.
The Sandlers built the Oakland (Calif.)-based company into the nation’s second-largest savings and loan before merging it with Wachovia Corp. in a $24 billion deal announced in May. In June, the Sandlers reported donations of Golden West stock worth some $1.3 billion to unidentified charities; Osher’s given some $723 million to charity so far this year.
The magazine says that such mammoth gifts made it harder to get on BusinessWeek’s list. The bar jumped to $157 million in giving over the past five years, up from $120 million last year.
Eleven new names made it on board BusinessWeek’s ranking, with more money coming from fortunes made in the hedge fund and energy world.
BusinessWeek says giving to global causes was up, and big money went to promote research for disorders and diseases where donors have a personal connection.
As well it reports that supporting one’s alma mater fuelled a lot of mega-giving.
T. Boone Pickens, who heads up $4 billion hedge fund BP Capital Management, made a $165 million gift to Oklahoma State University’s athletics program.
To download BusinessWeek’s list of “The 50 Most Generous Philanthropists” go to www.businessweek.com/pdfs/2006/0648_givers.pdf